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Royal Wedding Celebrated by DBE at a Royal Luncheon

If you were wondering if the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge, was not getting enough attention locally, not to worry. Victoria Crosby, NY State Daughters of the British Empire President; and DBE National Poet Laureate; and Regent, Westminster Abbey Chapter hosted a luncheon at her home on Thursday, April 28 for the local chapter of the DBE.

With its usual inclusiveness the Daughters of the British Empire in the State of New York welcomes members stating, “If you are female and of British or Commonwealth Ancestry or married to someone of British or Commonwealth Ancestry you are welcome to apply for membership.” 

Their mission is to support Victoria Home in upstate NY, a state-certified, not-for-profit skilled nursing facility that accommodates 49 full-time male and female residents, of all races, colors and creeds and was founded in 1916 by the Daughters of the British Empire (DBE) in the Eastern District of the United States. Men and women are welcome to attend any of their fundraising events.

It was a delightful luncheon buffet with about 50 guests. The women followed the British tradition and many wore lovely hats. For the Thursday luncheon, Ms. Crosby’s home was “A little bit of Britain on the North Shore.” 

Ms. Crosby said of the wedding events, “There will be several celebrations taking place, the first was at my house in Glen Cove on Thursday April 28 at noon. We toasted the royal couple in DBE champagne glasses, served lunch and then a wedding cake was served on a Westminster Abbey plate. I flew the Union Jack and the house is filled with British royal memorabilia.

“Since members have differing opinions about the wedding, some are thrilled; others think William should have married someone of noble or royal birth, it made for a most interesting afternoon,” she said.

The next day, April 29, Ms. Crosby went to NYC to India House, to meet Lady Anne Collins, wife of the Consul General.

 It was the National celebration of William and Catherine Wedding in New York, she said. “There was wedding cake and champagne toasts in fluted glasses. And I read a poem in honor of the wedding.”

Victoria Crosby, Denny Pugsley and Liz Barratt of Westminster Abbey Chapter attended the luncheon at India House in the city on Friday. Ms. Crosby said, “A bagpiper piped us into the cocktail hour and then to the luncheon. I read my poem, A Royal Romance, which was written in ‘honour’ of the royal wedding and commissioned by the DBE National President.

“She also asked me to give the invocation at the luncheon as I am a Universal Life Minister. I read one of my inspirational poems followed by a blessing on the newlyweds and the royal family.

“The wedding was being shown on a large screen during the luncheon. India House is in Hanover Square next to the British Garden in memory of the British men and women killed on 9/11.

“The Westminster Abbey chapter has women from all over LI, Nassau and Suffolk counties,” said Ms. Crosby.

If you had wanted to purchase some wedding memorabilia, she said the NYC store Tea and Sympathy was selling items and quickly ran out of them.

Of course, she said, you can still get things on the website of Catherine Middleton’s family business, Party Pieces.

    Ms. Crosby said Queen Elizabeth II was 85 on April 21. She usually celebrates her birthday in June when the weather promises to be beautiful. Next year she will celebrate 60 years on the throne, her Diamond Jubilee.

Another royal wedding is that of Princess Ann’s daughter from her first marriage. She is marrying a soccer star. She is the Queen’s granddaughter. That wedding has taken a sort of back seat to William and Catherine’s wedding, she said. [You will note that Ms. Crosby uses Catherine, the name the Queen has asked people to use when addressing William’s bride as opposed to Kate, that this side of the pond has been using.]

Not everyone is as pleased that the Prince is marrying a commoner, said Ms. Crosby. “Some of the members of the DBE feel that Prince William should have married a royal princess or someone of noble birth and are critical of the Middleton family that made their money on the Internet.”

On the issue of marrying a commoner, Ms. Crosby said, “Princess Victoria of Sweden married her personal trainer. The trend is to go toward marrying commoners. And there aren’t too many royals around,” she said.

“The Middleton family did make some money over the generations, but they made The Money from Party Pieces [items for great parties] and they are even selling wedding memorabilia on their Internet site.

“I got an e-mail from my sister about the royal family impersonators who use hip hop music and dance down the aisle at the [faux] wedding. [While over here it is seen as fun and even fabulous.] A lot of people have been sending emails to my sister with very negative comments about them saying, ‘Who are these people and why are they on the news all the time’.”

There is another good thing about the wedding weekend. Many Brits are saying at least they got a four-day weekend out of it. The media announced that by adding on the Easter weekend, Brits have been putting together 11-day holiday packages for themselves and left England for warmer climates just as hundreds of thousands were arriving for the wedding.

Ms. Crosby said England is in the process of changing the law of Primogenitor, in which the first male child of the King is next in line. Instead it will just say the first child and therefore if William and Catherine’s first child is a girl, she will be the next in line, after William; who is first after Charles.

It has already been done, Ms. Crosby said noting that Royalty magazine said Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands had her daughter Princess Victoria as the next in line as a result.

Ms. Crosby keeps up with the Royals with two British publications, Royalty monthly and Majesty. “They say that within hours of the wedding there will be knockoffs of the dress,” she said.


Local Views

Sharyne Wolfe, of Mill Neck, polled her students to see if they would like to wear the dress and more said they wouldn’t. Ms. Wolfe is a professor of fashion design at NCC. American brides at the present time favor strapless gowns.

The wedding was watched by people across the nation. Fern Senior of Laurel Hollow said she has a friend in NYC who was at a wedding-watch party event at 5:30 a.m. Friday, April 29. Former East Norwich resident Lynne Karppi Chute enjoyed scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream watching the wedding starting at 4 a.m., in her Astoria apartment, following a family tradition from Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles. 

Everyone had a favorite part of the wedding, from the kiss, to the dress, to the hats. 

For Gerry Mahoney of Oyster Bay, a driver for Oyster Rides, who calls himself a “car nut”, said the cars were his favorite part of the wedding. He said he enjoyed seeing the Royals arriving in vintage cars. He said Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles arrived in a vintage Rolls Royce; the two princes, William and Harry arrived in a Bentley; the Middletons arrived in an Austin Princess; Catherine arrived in a Rolls Royce. There was also a Daimler Benz car in the mix. They are not made anymore, he added.

Best of all was the last scene on Friday morning when Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, went spinning out in an Aston Martin that belonged to Prince Charles, a gift from his mother.

It was a wedding with something for everyone.